TEMPE, Arizona — Arizona State University earned a dominant victory Sunday at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships, claiming the NCAA Division I team title for the third consecutive year. Queens University of Charlotte also defended its team title for DII programs, while North Central College earned a three-peat in the DIII competition.
The course, centered at Tempe Town Lake for the second straight year, featured a 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. Races were separated by division for the first time, with DIII and collegiate club teams racing together in the first wave and DI and DII programs following in wave two. A record field of 93 student-athletes competed across all divisions.
ASU brought a stellar team to the DI/DII race, including the trio who swept the 2017 National Championships individual podium: Hannah Henry, Charlotte Ahrens and Kyla Roy.
The University of South Dakota’s Leah Drengenberg was first out of the water, but five of the six athletes in her wake were from ASU. Soon, a five-strong lead pack would form on the bike, including four Sun Devils — Henry, Ahrens, Roy and Katie Gorczyca — and USD’s Drengenberg. By the time they hit the run, the podium looked almost certain to come from those five.
Henry ultimately ran away with the win, clocking a 19-minute, 15-second 5k to break the tape with a total time of 1 hour, 1 minute, 53 seconds. Ahrens was right on her heels to take second in 1:01:58, and Gorczyca completed the top-three in 1:02:19.
“I’m super happy with how the race went, and I’m proud of my team. Everyone did so well,” Henry said. “We never know what’s going to happen on race day, so we have to be ready for everything. We treat it like any race, even though it’s a big one, and we always have to be ready to work hard. We’ve been working so hard this whole year — seeing everyone in training every day and how everyone performs in the race, it’s awesome.”
Kyla Roy (1:03:16) and Audrey Ernst (1:05:10) made it five unchallenged across the line for the Sun Devils. USD’s Drengenberg was the first athlete from another school to finish, taking sixth in 1:05:27.
Claiming the DII individual title was Tereza Zimovjanova of Queens University of Charlotte, who came through the finish chute with a time of 1:05:48. Fellow Queens athlete Anabel Knoll joined Zimovjanova on the DII podium, taking second in 1:06:28, while Black Hills State University’s Mathilde Bernard took third in 1:08:46.
The team competition is scored like that of cross-country, with athletes earning points based on their finishing place and the lowest total claiming the title. The DI team title went handily to ASU with six points, while USD grabbed the runner-up spot with 25 and East Tennessee State University took third with 38.
Queens earned the DII title with seven points, followed by Colorado Mesa University in second with 28 and Black Hills State in third with 31.
“This is my third year at Queens, and I’m so glad that I joined the team because the atmosphere is just unbelievable,” said Zimovjanova, who competes in elite International Triathlon Union competition for the Czech Republic. “Everyone is pushing each other. We have a lot of international athletes, so it’s a lot of different influences and cultures together. I feel like I’ve been growing not only as an athlete, but as a person for the past three years. I’m really grateful I was able to try this beautiful thing.”
In the DIII and club race, North Central College’s Kate Canfield led out of the swim. She was followed closely by Transylvania University’s Elizabeth Moore and Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Kendall Marks.
Ali Schwein of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Katie Patrick of the University of California at Berkeley were not far behind after the swim, and the two collegiate club athletes worked together to bridge up to the leaders on the bike. While MSOE’s Marks fell slightly off the pace, the remaining foursome worked together for the rest of the bike course.
Schwein moved quickly in the second transition to gain a slight advantage heading onto the run. She only built on that lead over the 5k, ultimately claiming the win in 1:08:48. Cal’s Patrick followed in second in 1:09:18. Another collegiate club athlete, Colorado State University’s Megan Cooney, ran up from the chase pack to claim third in 1:09:28.
“It was really fun. I had a good swim. I knew I needed a good group of girls to work with on the bike, so I just kind of sat in on the swim and knew there would be some strong bikers,” Schwein said. “Katie (Patrick) and I worked really well together on the bike, and we were able to catch the front girls. And then I just kept waiting for someone to pass me on the run, and then they never did!”
The first DIII athlete across the line was Canfield, claiming the individual national title for her division in 1:09:57. Joining her on the DIII individual podium was Transylvania’s Moore in second (1:10:53) and North Central’s Grace Miller in third (1:11:27).
North Central also earned the DIII team title for the third consecutive year with six points. Milwaukee School of Engineering and Millikin University took second and third for DIII teams, earning 22 and 33 points, respectively.
ASU and North Central are the first two teams to three-peat in their divisions at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Canfield of North Central said she is proud of the team’s consistency in the early years of the women’s NCAA triathlon movement.
“It’s really exciting,” Canfield said. “I think it will be fun in 10 or 20 years to talk about how we were there when it first started. “I’m pretty new to triathlon, so I feel like I’m still learning everything too. It’s fun to kind of grow with the program.”
Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January of 2014, and the first varsity National Championships were held in 2015. The sport has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA level. Twenty-six currently offer women’s triathlon as a varsity sport, up from 19 at this time last year. For the full listing of varsity teams and to learn more about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa.
Questions regarding varsity collegiate women’s triathlon events and programming may be directed to Jessica Welk at Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
NCAA Division I Team
1. Arizona State University, 6 points
2. University of South Dakota, 25 points
3. East Tennessee State University, 38 points
NCAA Division II Team
1. Queens University of Charlotte, 7 points
2. Colorado Mesa University, 28 points
3. Black Hills State University, 31 points
NCAA Division III Team
1. North Central College, 6 points
2. Milwaukee School of Engineering, 22 points
3. Millikin University, 33 points
NCAA Division I Individuals
1. Hannah Henry, Arizona State University, 1:01:53
2. Charlotte Ahrens, Arizona State University, 1:01:58
3. Katie Gorczyca, Arizona State University, 1:02:19
NCAA Division II Individuals
1. Tereza Zimovjanova, Queens University of Charlotte, 1:05:48
2. Anabel Knoll, Queens University of Charlotte, 1:06:28
3. Mathilde Bernard, Black Hills State University, 1:08:46
NCAA Division III Individuals
1. Katherine Canfield, North Central College, 1:09:57
2. Elizabeth Moore, Transylvania University, 1:10:53
3. Grace Miller, North Central College 1:11:27
Collegiate Club Individuals
1. Alexandra Schwein, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1:08:48
2. Katie Patrick, University of California at Berkeley, 1:09:18
3. Megan Cooney, Colorado State University, 1:09:28
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).